What Does a Vet Do?


Quick Answer

A veterinarian, or vet, is a person in charge of the medical needs of animals including pets, livestock and zoo animals. A vet commonly diagnoses and treats illness and injuries and performs medical procedures on animals.

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Full Answer

In order to become a vet, a person must have completed a program and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) from an accredited school of veterinary medicine. While a bachelor's degree is not always a requirement, having one provides students a better chance of being accepted into an accredited veterinarian school.

In addition to graduating from an accredited school, vets must obtain a license to practice. To get a veterinarian license, a person takes and passes the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam administered by his state of residence. In addition, many vets decide to become certified in a specialized area, such as large-animal or livestock care, though this is not a requirement.

As of 2010, over 61,000 individuals held positions as vets. Most of these positions were held in the veterinary services industry. A smaller portion held positions in college universities or research laboratories. An even smaller number were employed by the government, and around 9 percent were self-employed in the field.

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